Canadian OL Dakoda Shepley activated by San Francisco 49ers for NFL debut

Photo courtesy: San Francisco 49ers

Canadian offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley has been activated by the San Francisco 49ers.

Shepley will make his NFL debut against the Washington Football Team in Week 14 after being called up from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. It’s a match-up between two 5-7 teams with Washington trying to stay in contention for a playoff spot in the NFC East.

The Windsor, Ontario native was a first-round pick of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 2018 CFL draft. He signed with the team in March 2019 and started 14 games at right guard last season, winning the team’s Most Outstanding Rookie award.

He opted out of his CFL contract in August 2020 to pursue the NFL, signing a one-year deal with the defending NFC champions. He beat out two other offensive linemen who were selected in past NFL drafts in Jamon Brown (third rounder, 2015) and Ted Larsen (sixth rounder, 2010) for a contract.

Shepley must return to Saskatchewan if he is released as his pact with the Riders does not expire until February 2022.

The 25-year-old played four seasons at the University of British Columbia (2014-2017), starting 31 of 32 regular season games. While at UBC, Shepley lined up at left tackle and right guard, earning Canada West All-Star honours in 2017. He played in the 2017 U Sports East-West Bowl and was part of the Thunderbirds 2015 Vanier Cup championship team.

At the 2018 CFL combine, Shepley repped 225 pounds 27 times, ran a 5.15 hand-time 40-yard dash, 4.72 shuttle, 8.01 three-cone, recorded a 31-inch vertical and eight-foot, 9.5-inch broad jump. His raw athletic numbers drew attention from NFL scouts.

Shepley inked a deal with the New York Jets after going unselected in the 2018 NFL draft. The UBC product was cut following training camp that year and spent the rest of the season awaiting another NFL opportunity.

No more waiting for Shepley as the six-foot-four, 310-pound offensive lineman suits up for his first NFL action on Sunday.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.